A statement from the Office of State Senator Marc R. Pacheco:
BOSTON — Legislators joined industry experts at the State House this afternoon for a Clean Energy Future Advocacy Day Press Conference. Hosted by Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco, founding Chair of the Global Warming and Climate Change Committee, today’s event focused on the urgency of climate change in the Commonwealth and the Senate’s recent policy efforts to mitigate its effects - the MA Clean Energy Future bill (s.2545) passed last Thursday.
“It is urgent that we move as quickly as possible to mitigate the worst effects of Global Climate Change. The quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink, and the number of extreme weather events that we experience will depend on what we do at the local, state, and national level. The legislation passed by the MA Senate promotes a clean energy future that will protect public health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create thousands of new clean energy jobs that will continue to benefit Massachusetts and the New England economy. I am proud of the Senate’s work on this critical legislation to promote a clean energy future and look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Baker Administration on these critical matters now facing our Commonwealth,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton).
The event kicked off with remarks from the key legislators behind the bill including Senate President Harriette L. Chandler, Senate President Pro Tempore Marc. R. Pacheco, and Chair of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Senator Mike Barrett. Clean energy leaders followed, including Caitlin Peale Sloan from the Conservation Law Foundation, Bill Ravanesi from Health Care Without Harm, Eugenia Gibbons from the Mass Energy Consumer’s Alliance, Peter Rothstein from the Northeast Clean Energy Council, Emily Norton from the Sierra Club, and Allie Gold Roberts from Ceres.
An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future (s.2545) updates the state’s decade-old climate policy and establishes new benchmarks aimed at ensuring a sustainable clean energy future for Massachusetts. With this bill, the Senate: raises renewable portfolio standards, lifts the cap on solar net metering, authorizes additional hydropower and offshore wind procurement, establishes market-based greenhouse-gas emission limits, and implements statewide energy storage targets.
This legislation offers a forward-looking plan with policies and programs to reduce greenhouse emissions, which will protect public health, increase the use of renewable energy, and create jobs in the innovative green-energy economy. It now goes on the Massachusetts House of Representative for approval.
Quotes from Clean Energy Future Advocacy Day Speakers:
Caitlin Peale Sloan – Conservation Law Foundation
“These new increases in the Renewable Portfolio Standard – we know these are the bedrock of our GWSA [Global Warming Solutions Act] compliance, but we hadn’t mapped out how we’re getting from 2018 to 2050…One of the important provisions that Senator Pacheco has been a champion of, and that CLF helped to develop, was to require a comprehensive planning process that does analysis that will provide pathways…so that policymakers can see before them the really hard changes that need to be made.”
Bill Ravanesi– Health Care Without Harm
“As a global leader in climate and environmentally-smart health care, Health Care Without Harm applauds the Senate's passage of this pacesetting legislation and urges swift adoption by the House. By significantly increasing the RPS and instituting other forward-thinking initiatives, this bill is a smart way to control health costs associated with fossil fuels at a time when the average Massachusetts household already spends six to ten times more on health care and health insurance than they spend on energy. It will eliminate tens of thousands of gigawatt hours of fossil fuel emissions through 2030, avoiding hundreds of premature deaths, mitigating hundreds of thousands of respiratory incidents, and saving tens of millions of dollars in health care costs."
Kate E. Walsh – Boston Medical Center, President & CEO*
“Increasing clean renewable energy by 3% per year will help protect the health of the Commonwealth’s residents, reduce overall costs impacting hospitals and businesses, and support Boston Medical Center’s on-going commitment to use clean, renewable energy.”
John Messervy– Partners HealthCare, Corporate Director*
“While Massachusetts has been a leader in advancing clean energy and investing in resiliency, we believe more can be done. Legislators should support efforts to increase deployment of clean energy – such as increasing the renewable portfolio standard to 3% per year.”
Eugenia Gibbons – Mass Energy Consumer’s Alliance
“Inaction is simply not an option, silent solutions are simply not an option, waiting and seeing is simply not an option...It’s why we must celebrate the hard work that was done by the Senate last week in its session and why I can assure you that many of us in this room are committed to working together to make sure that the ball will move forward and get over the finish line."
Peter Rothstein– Northeast Clean Energy Council
“We see that the vision of transformation of this state’s economy to a clean economy is something that doesn’t happen overnight - it happens certainly over a number of years, but there is a great opportunity to accelerate this transition over the next couple of years and over the next couple of decades.”
“The Renewable Portfolio Standard needs to increase - we’re lagging behind other states...we’re lagging behind our leadership position, we’re lagging behind the opportunity to take advantage of renewables.”
Emily Norton – Sierra Club
“Throughout all of human history, the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have ranged between 280-300 parts per million. We are now over 410 ppm. CO2 levels have never been this high while there have been homo sapiens on the planet. The last time CO2 levels were this high, sea level was 50-80 feet higher.”
Alli Gold Roberts – Ceres
“These are all innovative tools to help the Commonwealth meet its Global Warming Solutions act target to reduce GHG emissions 80%...MA businesses are increasingly making the decision to invest in renewable energy because it lowers their costs, reduces their exposure to the volatility of natural gas prices, and helps them stay competitive.”
* Quotes as read at the event by Mr. Ravanesi